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   Re: Separation of formatting...

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  • From: Sean Mc grath <digitome@iol.ie>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Sat, 02 May 1998 18:58:45 +0100

[Rick Jelliffe]
>Developers should be aware that if their publication requires more than
>just a straight-forward flow of dependence between the various structures
>(which are concurrently present in their publication) they may have to
>spend a lot more development effort. A simple flow of dependence with
>no reverse feeding back is easier to implement.

Even reverse feeding has its limits. I suspect that no amount
of algorithm driven formatting will ever produce the same result
as a skilled human. IOW, there are limits to how good a pure
SGML/XML driven formatting system can be. Thusly we need processing
instructions and format oriented markup.

I recently grappled with a large piece of legislation on paper
which proved easy enough to model but I gave up trying to re-produce
the "look" of the paper version. Individual sections exhibited
clear signs of aesthetic tweaking. Infuriating because the darn
thing looks so much nicer than mine yet I cannot determine why:-(

To see this aesthetic effect in its extremes I heartily recommend
"Le Ton beau de Marot" by Douglas Hofstadter. For example, according
to the introduction, the section layout of chapter 2 was
heavily influenced by the avoidence of descender characters in
the first word!

Sean Mc Grath

"there are two types of people in the world. Those who
think the world consists of two types of people, and
those who don't"

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